|Rachel Stewart: "..I do get knocked around a bit."|
New Zealand Herald columnist Rachel Stewart calls it a day on Twitter.
RACHEL STEWART has decided to quit Twitter. She will be ending her almost eight year stint on the social media platform this week.
In a message to her friends and supporters she has questioned whether Twitter has any further relevance for her as a writer commenting that 'the accelerating bad, chaotic and untrustworthy news is also draining my reserves of energy, and is starting to make my head spin and my soul shrivel too.'
Commenting on the on-going campaign against her, she has revealed that the cyberbullying has had a negative impact on her life beyond the internet.
"Plus, as you know, I do get knocked around a bit. I still will in absentia of course, but I won't see it. Reading endless screeds of hysteria and untruths about oneself has become somewhat passe, and I realise now that it's having an effect on my ability to enjoy simplicity, and the things that I really care about - birds, rivers, wildlife, and my partner."
After she wrote a NZ Herald column that was critical of individuals being able to change the details of their sex as registered at birth, Rachel became the target of an increasingly vitriolic campaign by the identitarian left and which still continues today. The authoritarian urge to censor contrary views that is at the core of liberal identity politics has been highlighted by the campaign not only to drive Rachel from Twitter but to have her dismissed as a NZ Herald columnist. According to Labour Party-friendly Morgan Godfery, Rachel 'has no place in public life'. In another age Godfery would be organising book burning bonfires.
The campaign against Rachel has been supported by several parliamentary politicians. Labour's Louisa Wall, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and her fellow Green MP Golriz Ghahraman have all attacked Rachel.
They will probably regard Rachel' s departure from Twitter as a 'victory' but if it is a 'victory' then its a hollow one.This is a 'victory' that has done little more than spotlight a liberal ideology characterised by intolerance and a desire to impose its views on other people. It has exposed a politics that has evacuated class from its arguments.
|Rachel Stewart behind the paywall.|
The frequent attempts to control free speech, limit debate and stigmatise and bully people into submission has exposed a 'progressive politics' that has degenerated into moralising and a divisive activism that can only continue to fragment the left rather than promote solidarity. Given that most of Rachel's critics are also supporters of the neoliberal Labour-led government and its Green Party poodle, perhaps that's what the real agenda is. Rachel herself has been consistently critical of the Jacinda Ardern-led government and has been equally scathing of the Green Party's politically-bankrupt 'green capitalism'.
In his book Mistaken Identity Asad Haider writes:
“The framework of identity reduces politics to who you are as an individual and gaining recognition as an individual, rather than your membership in a collectivity and the collective struggle against an oppressive social structure. As a result, identity politics paradoxically ends up reinforcing the very norms it set out to criticize.”
What will probably prove to be one of Rachel's last tweets is a quote from actor and comedian Ricky Gervais : "If you don’t believe in free speech for people who you hate, fear and disagree with, then you don’t believe in free speech."
Happily, Rachel will still be writing her column for the New Zealand Herald.